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How Construction Can Fight the Growing Labor Shortage

  • Post category:Industry News
  • Reading time:7 mins read

Do you have a construction company in mind to increase its headcount by 2022? It could be a daunting project. According to a recent AGC (Associated General Contractors of America) study, 88% of construction companies reported delays in project worker shortages, the second most common reason for delays after longer lead times or material shortages.

There’s no guarantee when and when full healing from this pandemic be achieved. Still, more than three-quarters of employers intend to recruit new employees within the next 12 months. In reality, 90% of businesses that hire hourly crafters were trying to fill at least one open job, and 62% of those businesses didn’t have any salaried jobs open either.

89% of companies seeking to fill craft worker jobs have difficulty filling them, and 86% of companies that employ salaried professionals also have difficulty filling jobs. Some of the toughest jobs to fill are bricklayers, pipelayers, concrete workers and supervisors, project managers, and estimators.

Between January 2007 and January 2011, more than 2.3 million construction jobs were eliminated due to the Great recession alone. By February 2020, there were fewer employed than when the recession began. It was before COVID-19 was adopted, which removed a further 1.1 million jobs starting in February 2020 to April 2020.

In April 2022, construction employment was back to pre-pandemic levels, with 7.628 million workers employed. Yet, the number of job openings remains high. As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in March 2022, there were 396,000 job openings in the construction industry, an increase of 383,000 from January to February.

In 2021 the median age for construction workers in the field was 42.3 years old, compared to just 36 years in 1985. About 43% of workers are older than 45, compared to 9 percent aged 24 or under. The construction industry and companies need to increase efforts to lure younger workers to careers in construction.

  • Offer Candidates More

To get the best employees, your company should be known as one of the best places to work in your field and area. The beginning is just offering competitive salaries and benefits like a gym membership or health insurance reimbursement. Remember that workers compete to get a job just as you compete to get work done! Provide candidates with more incentives by creating an atmosphere of possibility where everyone feels loved and valued.

Set your company apart from the rest by establishing an atmosphere that respects its employees and allows employees to make their voices heard. An experienced and knowledgeable leadership team supports them. Involve your employees by providing challenges but also rewarding opportunities. Make yourself the first stop for candidates to go to when looking for a job instead of their final choice when looking for new jobs.

  • Invest in Your Employees

Companies in the construction industry should make a greater investment in the training and improvement of their workforce. Be sure that continuing education and training classes are available to new and current employees and offer a reimbursement after completing courses successfully. Prospective employees are interested in knowing they have advancement opportunities and different career paths within the company.

Maintaining good employees is equally important for your business as hiring them. Once you’ve hired them, investing money into their development and success in your business is crucial.

They want to feel appreciated as part of a team instead of just employees showing up for work. Give your employees rewards for their dedication and commitment to your company to reward them for staying motivated.

Job applicants rarely have all the required qualifications, skills, education, and work experience listed in the job advertisement. Keep in mind that abilities can be learned. However, work ethics are not. Suppose you put your time into training new employees. Ensure they demonstrate a positive character, integrity, and reliability and are prepared to invest as much energy as you can afford to invest in their development.

  • Check References

Conduct background checks, drug screenings, and tests on potential new employees before making a job offer. See if the applicant is suitable for your company by seeking references. Contact them to get an idea of what kind of person your candidate’s potential employer is. Another excellent query to ask a referee is whether they would be willing to hire, rehire or contract with the candidate you’re interviewing.

Even if you’ve done the right research and sent out a job offer, not every person your firm hires will be a perfect fit. It will be apparent after a few months in the field. Some companies may be reluctant to let someone go because of the time and money spent training and recruiting them. Don’t waste your time and money on someone who isn’t valuable to your company.

  • Internships & Apprenticeships

Construction companies must look to the future by providing co-ops and internships to local trade schools, high schools, or college students. Join community and university colleges offering courses in the field of construction. Increasingly businesses are creating courses of instruction with vocational or community colleges to fulfill their requirements for training.

You can consider joining programs for young people to get them interested in construction careers. For instance, the ACE Mentor Program and MAGIC Camps, often called Mentoring Girls in Construction or Mentoring a Girl in Construction, are fantastic ways to get involved.

The National Association of Women in Construction Education Foundation (NEF) offers a variety of educational programs for both adults and kids. The Block Kids program introduces grade school students to careers in the field of construction. Additionally, there are Design/CAD Competitions and Accessory Structure Project competitions at high school levels that you can learn more about by visiting here.

Look for registered apprenticeship programs in your area, or consider starting your own to get training specific to your industry. It will provide you with an additional source of income for hiring new employees.

  • Employ Veterans

Be sure to take note of active duty and veterans military personnel in their preparation to return to civilian life and start new career paths. Initiatives like the Helmets to Hardhats and Veterans in Piping are designed to draw and prepare veterans for careers in construction.

Construction delays caused by worker shortages are becoming a common occurrence nationwide. These issues are likely to continue to grow. They will become more common, especially in the construction industry, where companies that aren’t flexible and creative about hiring won’t be able to keep up.

To draw more people into construction jobs, The entire construction industry must unite and bring about an entirely new method of operation.